How To Install WordPress MU In Windows Localhost (With XAMPP)

We are all familiar with WordPress, the popular software that makes blogging an easy and enjoyable task. WordPress MU is an extension of WordPress that gives you the capability to create multiple blogs in one domain. One good example of WordPress MU in action is

If you want to use WordPress MU on your site, but wanted to test it thoroughly before making it live on the server, the best way is to create a local server and test the installation in your computer first. In this tutorial, you will learn how to create local sever on Windows (using Xampp) and install WordPress MU.

Installing Local Server

1. Go to Xampp For Windows and download the Windows installer.

Run the installer. When it comes to the installation options page, select Install Apache and MySQL as a service.

Xampp installation options

2. Once the installation is completed, go to Start -> Program -> Apache Friends -> XAMPP -> XAMPP Control Panel. Press the Start button beside Apache and MySQL.

Xampp control panel

Your local server is now running. Open your browser and go the URL: http://localhost. It should show the following page:

Installing WordPress MU

3. Download the WordPress MU zip file.

4. Extract it to the folder: C:\xampp\htdocs\ (if you have installed Xampp in different location, you have to extract the WordPress-MU folder to the htdocs folder in the Xampp directory)

Setting up database for WordPress-MU

5. In your browser, go to the URL: http://localhost/phpmyadmin

In the “Create New Database” field, enter a name for your database. Press Create.

creating wordpress mu database

Configuring virtualhost

6. To install WordPress MU in localhost, we need to set up virtual hosting in Windows system.

Go to C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc and open the file “hosts” with notepad (you need to have administrator privilege to edit the file. Right click the Notepad application in the Start menu and select Run As Administrator).

Insert in the line localhost.localdomain

to the end of the file. Save and close the file.

7. Back to your browser, go to the URL: http://localhost.localdomain/wordpress-mu. You should see the WordPress MU installation page.

In the field where it asks you to choose between Sub-domains or Sub-directories, select Sub-directories. This will save you plenty of trouble later on.

wordpress mu choosing sub directories

If you insist on choosing Sub-domains, whenever you create a new test blog (with the sub-domain test1), you will need to update the hosts file with the sub-domain entry. test1.localhost.localdomain

In the database section, enter the database name that you have created just now. Under the Username field, enter ‘root‘ and leave the password field blank.

Wordpress mu database entry

When you are done filling in the rest of the details, click the Submit button to finish the installation. If everything goes smoothly, you should see the “Installation Finished” page.

wordpress mu installation finished

That’s it.

Damien Damien

Damien Oh started writing tech articles since 2007 and has over 10 years of experience in the tech industry. He is proficient in Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS, and worked as a part time WordPress Developer. He is currently the owner and Editor-in-Chief of Make Tech Easier.


  1. I actually just installed MU today. Have any useful links on setting up emailing functionality?

  2. Hmm… Getting “error establishing database connection”. I am very familiar with xampp and wordpress and have never been able to set up WPMU on my localhost. I’ve put off learning WPMU because of this but I really would like to start developing with it.

    I have the latest version of xampp 1.7.1 win 32 amd WPMU. My win32 “hosts” file is correctly updated and there is an empty database for the install.

    Any ideas why I would get “error establishing db connection” or why I’ve had such a difficult time installing WPMU?

    Thanks for the info. It gave me hope for a few minutes!

    1. If you are having the “database connection” error, it means the browser can connect to the server, but cannot access the database.

      1) Restart your XAMPP
      2) Check your wp-config.php file that the database connection information is correct. Remember, for XAMPP, the username is root and the password is blank.
      3) If this don’t work, download a fresh copy of WPMU and reinstall everything again with a different folder name.

      1. Darn- still no joy.

        I have latest wpmu files freshly unzipped to a new htdocs folder named wp-multi.

        I went to localhost.localdomain in my browser to see if it could find xampp. Success! I went into phpmyadmin and could find the db named wpmu with no tables still on http://localhost.localdomain/phpmyadmin

        Went to localhost.localdomain/wp-multi and still get 500 unable to connect error. So i looked at the wp-config-sample.php in the wpmu files. It is my understanding that wpmu creates the wp-config upon installation. The thing I find strange is it appears that wpmu does not need an initial db connection to run the install. It cannot connect to the db until you tell it where to look during the installation process.Is it possible that I need to edit the apache config files to make it work with wpmu?

        1. Check the wpmu folder and see if the wp-config.php and .htaccess file have already been created. If yes, delete them.

  3. Im want to throw my computer out of the window!
    Thats how frustrated i am right now.
    For two days i tried to setup wpmu on xampp.
    I have tried it with root + password ( because i have set up everything with a password ), and also tried it with leaving the password blank. Fresh installations and everything are not doing the trick. I have a clean database specially for wpmu butr i dont understand why i cant get it to work and i reallyneed this so i can practice with buddypress…

  4. Simply a great tutorial – a very lucid one – and my installation on local computer was a breeze. It would definitely help me to make choices for instalation of wp-mu on my new site Thanks

  5. Just recently took out my website pages to clear it up for this installation. I was banging my head for two days to install this over my server. Thanks for the tip! Had to re-do the installation a few times, am just so happy that it’s now working. Thanks again!

  6. I have used your steps above several times and it makes the install super easy! Thanks!!! *I am a novice to WAMPP, especially the AMPP parts.

    In Step 5. above you show the MySQL connection collation as “utf8_general_ci”. In an install of WordPress (standalone), one of the instructions was to use “utf8_unicode_ci” here. *Not sure that this is what caused the following quirk in the WPMU app…

    The post “description” editing buttons did not appear so I was stuck with the HTML coding window. I did a re-install and used the “utf8_unicode_ci” collation and the buttons were there. Not sure if it was the re-install or this change.

    1. I have used “utf8_general_ci” and it worked well for me. It seems that the configuration could be different for each machine. I hope everything now works well for you.

  7. I get all the way to the end of your tutorial and then it just loops @ http://localhost.localdomain/wp-signup.php?new=localhost.localdomain

    my stats:
    *fresh install of wordpressmu files
    *clean database
    *hosts.cfg only has localhost.localdomain
    *using “subdomains” NOT directories
    *installing from http://localhost.localdomain
    *using win7 and xammp

    for the Server Address should “localhost.localdomain” be used or the “”?

    I already have a working copy of this on another real server with main URL and 145 subs(i understand all subs must be listed in hosts.cfg, just trying to get the main site up at least for now).

    if i just use mysql dump from the real server I get a no site configured error.


  8. I really liked your tutorial, its clean and easy to follow.
    I tried installing wpmu on xammp, i thought it was that easy, but I was wrong. I’m glad I found this post. Now I goit my wmpu working on my computer!

    maraming salamat! ( thank you! )

  9. Is it possible to edit the Myphpadmin entries to change the password for WPMU or is it easier to do a new install?

    I thought I had changed both username and user activation using MD5 in the wp_user part of MyPhpAdmin. But I still can’t log-in to WPMU.

    I show the Kubrick front end among several possibilities is a log-in which if clicked presents one with both a username and a password box(same idea as single user WP)For whatever reason I didn’t do two things 1. copy and paste the randomly generated password 2. immediately log-in and change said password.

    So I’m stuck at the Kubrick page, in one sense pleased that I got that far and p’od that I didn’t complete the install right then. Only possible excuse is that I was floored that the second try with WPMU worked.

  10. Dude, you helped me sooo much. Just wish I could go back in time 2 hours and undo Xampp changes.. oh, I can, just re-install.

  11. Worked like a dream, and so quick!……I am just sooooooooooo grateful.
    I tried to do similar on Wamp and after several hours totally failed. I had given up on mu till I found this article. Thank you so much


  12. Like others, I had tried and failed with WAMP. There are simply no clear instructions for getting wpmu working in a wamp environment. Have wrestled that gator recently, I think part of the problem is in understanding when to change passwords and when to leave the defaults in place and the other part lies in configuring the Windows hosts file. The wamp/wpmu instructions say nothing about setting up virtual hosts to get wpmu to work. One or both may be the problem, but since I am only interested in creating a sandbox where I can fool around with themes and plugins without disrupting our production WPMU install (which is on linux anyway), I just don’t care.

    The one amendment I would make to the instructions above is that by default the Windows hosts file is read-only. You have to change its Properties. Other than that, everything worked as advertised. I’m off to botch up themes. Happy coding!

  13. One quick tip. Vista was not allowing me to save the edited hosts file. Did some googling to find the solution. Here it is: Notepad has to be “run as administrator” in order to save the modified file. This is easy to do. 1) Go to start menu. 2) Find Notepad in the programs list 3) right-click on notepad and choose “Run as administrator” 4) You will get a pop-up box asking for permission – click “continue” 5) in Notepad go to files – open and navigate to the “hosts” file and open it 6) make the change suggested above and save the file. The modified file is now saved and you can move on.

    Thought others might encounter this same problem.

  14. Hey there, I’m toying with blog networks, etc. Thanks for the tips. Your post work exactly as written.



  15. Hi,

    I hv installed wordpress-mu following above all steps (so easy). but after installation, web server can’t access folder wordpressmu where all files are pasted.

    when the page localhost.mydomain is being displayed, the folder wordpressmu is not visible.

    Plz help …

    1. is your folder labelled as wordpress-mu or wordpressmu. You need to access it with the correct name.

  16. how to upload wp from http://localhost/…./wordpress ====> or www……

    thank you

  17. Just wanted to add my Kudos. Worked like a charm. Probably want to remind folks to change their password immediately.

  18. Excellent instructions for installing WordPress MU with the awesome XAMPP. Thank you. After battling for hours, your instructions helped me install WPMU in a few minutes :)

  19. Hi.. was hoping this was gonna be the answer to my problems in installing wordpress mu as a localhost in xampp but i am still experiencing problems.. I have right clicked on notepad and run as administrator, have then gone into notepad, into hosts, typed in localhost.localdomain but when i click on save i get the following message:

    Cannot create the C:WindowsSystem32driversetchosts file.

    Make sure that the path and file name are correct.

    I have no idea what i am doing wrong… can anybody help me get past this??


  20. If you are using wamp the rewrite_module is turned off by default.

    click on wamp icon go to Apache->Apache modules and turn the rewrite_module on.

    Then follow the steps on this site..It should work great!

    Thanx for the article!

  21. I did same as in this tutorial after the completion of installation i go to page
    but it gives me message
    Server error!

    The server encountered an internal error and was unable to complete your request. Either the server is overloaded or there was an error in a CGI script.

    If you think this is a server error, please contact the webmaster.
    Error 500
    03/08/10 19:57:05
    Apache/2.2.6 (Win32) DAV/2 mod_ssl/2.2.6 OpenSSL/0.9.8e mod_autoindex_color PHP/5.2.4
    any body help me please

  22. Thanks for the tutorial…. The only thing that I didn't know, while trying to install wp-mu on xampp local windows server, was how to setup this localhost.localdomain . So, you solved it very nicely..


  23. Finally! I installed it successfully! It took me hours to get it installed. I was entering 'root' and leaving the password blank, but forgot that I changed the username and password for phpMyAdmin immediately after installing XAMPP a couple of months ago. Rookie mistake!

    Could I make a suggestion? When you ask people to insert the line: localhost.localdomain, could you have some text beside saying: “For example,” or “For example, we put”.

    I think this would make it clearer for newbies like myself. I know it might seem really obvious to most, but as a learner, it was quite confusing! I got there in the end though! Thanks for a great guide!

  24. Usually a newbie won't change the domain name for XAMPP setup, so I guess adding that line might confuse them even more… :-)

  25. Finally it's working.

    I wanted Sub-domains but didn't use hosts file.

    Just added the required line in my hosts file and everthng is running smooth.

    Thank You Buddy.

  26. Did you edit the hosts file? For subdomain to work, you have to edit the hosts file for each subdomain you add. If not, read the article more thoroughly for the instructions.

  27. This *almost* worked like a charm ;) .. However, because I selected subdomains, I got to a place where I was getting a nasty error regarding “re-direct will not work — probably because you're not allowing cookies” .. even after enabling cookies, still had the problem.

    I finally reverted to your original suggestion “sub-directories” and it did “work like a charm” but wonder if you had any thoughts on how to get sub domains to work on XAMPP ..



  28. Yikes spoke too soon .. now I'm getting this error when I attempt to add the required email address in the WordPress-MU installation page:

    “Database Tables Missing.
    Database tables are missing. This means that MySQL is either not running, WPMU was not installed properly, or someone deleted wp_site. You really should look at your database now.”

  29. You might have messed it up earlier. My advice: remove all the files and the database and start all over again.

  30. okay; thanks. i think you're right. when i was getting the 'redirect' error message, i attempted to submit the wordress-mu installation form more than once – probably corrupted the db

    and thanks for tip on submdomain – i will re-reread and try again .. was late last night ;)

  31. beautiful. Am good .. definitely was sequence of events in the database provisioning – e.g. trying multiple times to setup the db. I dropped everything, created the DB again, and then went through the rest of the tutorial …

    worked well – thank you!

    now onto installing buddypress; hopefully, the fact I just upgraded to WP-mu 3.0 will not complicate my life with that ;) …


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